Published: Thu, February 08, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

German coalition deal means fundamental change of direction in Europe: Schulz

German coalition deal means fundamental change of direction in Europe: Schulz

The coalition government deal reached by the CDU/CSU union and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) earlier on Wednesday will only speed up the decline of the three participants and boost the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, the AfD spokesman, Joerg Meuthen, told Sputnik. True, the CDU and the SPD are still Germany's two biggest parties.

This appears to be a concession to the SPD, which vehemently objects to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation target of spending at least two percent of national output on defence. But it's a bitter irony that these two centrist parties are back in power together, after both recorded their worst election results since the war.

"Of course, after many years in which Wolfgang Schaeuble led the finance ministry and really was an institution, many find it hard that we can no longer hold this ministry, and the same goes for the interior ministry", she said.

Other SPD appointees are expected to fill the finance ministry post, as well as the labour and social affairs portfolio. She also noted that many conservatives will not be happy with the SPD taking over the finance ministry. Frau Merkel may be a fiscal conservative by instinct, but the people controlling her purse strings are now firmly on the left.

A Social Democrat finance ministry - replacing pro-austerity Wolfgang Schäuble - is more likely to go along with French President Macron's ambitious plans for European Union reform, by allowing more German support for struggling eurozone economies.

The CDU's Klöckner said her party wanted to see welcome changes to Germany's healthcare model but warned that a "one-size-fits-all" system would be too expensive.

The CSU were particularly unhappy with Merkel's disastrous decision to let in over a million immigrants - many of them entered Germany via Bavaria, a good many are still there. As she headed into the final round of talks on Tuesday, Merkel called on all sides to make the necessary concessions and strike a deal that would end months of political limbo.

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But it still has to be approved in a vote by the full membership vote of the centre-left Social Democrat Party (SPD), where it is facing a Momentum-style challenge by rebels determined to prevent another Merkel government.

On Wednesday he declared that, with the coalition deal, Germany "will return to an active and leading role in the European Union".

Why has this taken so long?

As a former President of the European Parliament, he's a master of the backroom deal. Simple. By refusing to blink first.

Coalition talks have dragged on for four months, first with the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and Green Party, and then later with a reluctant SPD that had previously sworn off of another "grand coalition" with Angela Merkel at the helm. Only when those negotiations broke down did he re-enter the arena. Without the support of the SPD, Germany would be looking at new elections that could rob Merkel of her fourth term as Germany's chancellor.

If Schulz becomes Foreign Minister, expect him to take a tough line on Brexit.

Social Democrat leaders now have one last major hurdle to overcome - winning their sceptical members' approval over the deal.

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